Should you have a First Look before your wedding?

January 3, 2018

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Are you intrigued but a little mystified by the concept of a First Look? I’m here to spell it out for you!

First Looks are simply when the couple carves out a time in private to see each other before their wedding ceremony. Typically one partner stands facing away, and the other sneaks up behind them. I capture the reactions and emotions of that moment.

First looks are becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons.

1. More time for portraits!

Doing a first look will ensure that you and your partner get a solid chunk of portrait time. Point-blank, this means about 20% more photographs of you and your partner together on your wedding day.

Timelines can get way off track, and that’s normal! It’s my job to capture the photographs you need. However, I have seen weddings where during the newlywed portrait time, the couple starts socializing, or drinking/dancing, and the allotted time I created for portraits gets shorter and shorter. It happens! But to ensure you get MANY beautiful photographs (the ones you want most), a first look is super helpful.

Especially f your ceremony will run late in the afternoon (past, say, 4pm) or close to sunset, a First Look is really a no-brainer. Capturing your newlywed photographs in the dark is no fun, so doing a First Look and getting portraits done before your ceremony is a good solution.

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2. More time to enjoy your wedding!

Doing a first look beforehand also means that we can do some couple portraits, all of the bridal party portraits, AND family portraits BEFORE the wedding– and you know what that means? Your friends will love you, because after the ceremony they can go straight to partying the night away. After the ceremony, it can be difficult to break away from friends and family for portraits. This is a huge benefit for First Looks. You should be able to enjoy your own cocktail hour, after all! πŸ˜‰

2. It is controllable.

Many things about your wedding day will not be controllable. If you are a little Type-A like myself, this might cause some anxiety for you. The weather may not cooperate on your special day, and that’s okay. With a First Look, your photographer can select a location that factors in the weather so that you still have beautiful images to treasure. We can control the light and the scenery, which will ensure beautiful photos.

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3. Nerves.

Many couples I work with are simply nervous before their wedding. Having a first look takes some of the pressure off of you. There’s no pressure to perform. I have heard from grooms especially that there can be a lot of pressure to cry or have an emotional reaction. They were much more likely to have the emotional reaction in private during a First Look because there’s no audience.

3 1/2. Looking like the 10/10 you are.

Going off of #3, a HUGE selling point for brides is that after their First Look, they can reapply makeup before they see guests if they need to.

Some people are also nervous that they will cry (and smudge their makeup!) during a ceremony. A first look is a good way to have that private moment and cry it out– and then fix your makeup before the ceremony.

3. It’s private– just for you.

The most common feedback I get is that because the first look was in private (usually, it is just the couple and myself), they were more comfortable because no one was watching. I don’t know about you, but I am a lot different in front of my partner in private versus in public. Many couples say they felt I captured more genuine photographs of themselves during the first look.

A lot of couples worry that the first look will water down the moment the bride or groom walks down the aisle– after all, they have already seen each other! But this is not true. Because it is a “public” moment, where you see each other in front of your nearest and dearest, and because of the symbolic step you are about to make, the moment is just as real and honest as a wedding without a first look.

Some Cons for First Looks

1. Tradition.

Some couples are very traditional and would rather have the ceremony be the first time they see each other. And that’s okay! As long as you are prepared to carve out more time for portraits, whatever you decide will be amazing.

2. You have to have your hair/makeup done earlier.

Since a First Look typically takes place about 1.5-2 hours before your ceremony, you’ll have to get your hair and makeup done a little earlier. This can be an issue for traveling couples or for those who want to sleep in on their wedding day.

If after all of this you are still unsure, feel free to email me at! There is absolutely no pressure either way. It’s YOUR day! I am here to make it easier and more fun. And to take some amazing photographs, of course. πŸ˜‰

And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out my Wedding Collection options. One of them even includes a free engagement session! πŸ™‚ www.annemientkaphotography/weddings


#FirstLook #Wedding #Newlywed #WeddingPhotography #Portraits

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